Category Archives: LGBTQ Issues

‘Intentional Vandalism’ Leaves Thousands Without Power in North Carolina

One right-wing extremist implied that multiple electrical substations were targeted to disrupt a drag show in Moore County. Local law enforcement authorities and the FBI are investigating.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Police officers survey the perimeter line of the West End substation in Moore County, North Carolina on December 3, 2022. (Photo: John Nagy/The Pilot)

Officials in a North Carolina county where more than 40,000 households remain without power amid freezing temperatures declared a state of emergency on Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after multiple electrical substations were damaged by gunfire in an apparent act of criminal vandalism.

“As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said in a statement. The massive blackout, which began just after 7:00 pm Saturday night, is “being investigated as a criminal occurrence.” No arrests have been announced. Continue reading

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90+ Groups Warn ‘Kids Online Safety Act’ Could Have ‘Damaging’ Effects

“Congress needs to pass real laws that rein in the abuses of Big Tech and protect everyone’s privacy and human rights rather than using kids as pawns to advance poorly drafted legislation in order to score political points,” said one critic.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 11-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Julia M Cameron/Pexels

Nearly 100 LGBTQ+ and human rights groups warned in a Monday letter to Congress that while “privacy, online safety, and digital well-being of children should be protected,” proposed legislation intended to do so would instead negatively impact all internet users.

Specifically, the letter says that the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) “would undermine those goals for all people, but especially children, by effectively forcing providers to use invasive filtering and monitoring tools; jeopardizing private, secure communications; incentivizing increased data collection on children and adults; and undermining the delivery of critical services to minors by public agencies like schools.” Continue reading

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Elon Musk’s Twitter is more dangerous than you think

Beyond Musk’s oft-repeated rants about free speech, may lie shadier plans to recoup the $44bn he paid for the site

By Adam Ramsay  Published 11-11-2022 by openDemocracy

The world is burning and Ukraine is trudging into a winter of war. Prices are spiralling and the NHS is limping. The US and Brazil have held the line against fascism, just, while Italy has fallen to the far right. Watching the disastrous takeover of Twitter by the world’s richest bam can feel a little frivolous. So what if it becomes a rich boy’s toy? It often felt like that anyway.

But the thing is, we can’t solve the world’s problems without talking, and social media has become the way we do that. At its best, a space beyond the increasingly oligarch-owned press where citizens of the world can chatter, gossip, joke and revolt; can organise into new collectives and explore new identities and senses of self. At its worst, well, I don’t need to tell you. Continue reading

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The US Christian Right groups actively involved in voter suppression

OPINION: Religious and anti-abortion groups are trying to restrict voting rights ahead of the midterm elections

By Annika Brockschmidt  Published 11-3-2022 by openDemocracy

Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan on December 10, 2011 to defend voting rights. Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr/CC

Anyone who wants a future in today’s Republican Party must openly claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, or at least dance around the question of electoral fraud enough to appease their dear leader.

Meanwhile, a coalition of conservative dark money groups with strong ties to the religious Right have made it their mission to curb voting rights in potentially election-deciding swing states. They are using allegations of Democratic voter fraud and ‘election integrity’ as tactics to engage in voter suppression. Continue reading

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Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut ‘Foundational’ Digital Rights Law

“Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Rights advocates warn weakening Section 230 would disproportionately silence and endanger “marginalized communities including LGBTQ+ people, Black and Brown folks, sex workers, journalists, and human rights activists around the world.” Photo: Public domain

Digital rights advocates responded with alarm to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday decision to take up a case that could enable right-wing justices to gut Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Section 230 is a foundational and widely misunderstood law that protects human rights and free expression online,” said Fight for the Future director Evan Greer in a statement late Monday. Continue reading

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The Supreme Court is back in session, with new controversial cases that stand to change many Americans’ lives – here’s what to expect

The Supreme Court is set to start its latest term on Oct. 3, 2022.
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

 

Morgan Marietta, UMass Lowell

Following a dramatic year of controversial rulings, the Supreme Court begins hearing new cases on Oct. 3, 2022, with a full agenda.

The court overturned abortion rights and expanded gun rights in June 2022 as the new conservative supermajority began to exert its influence.

Some of the court’s most important upcoming cases focus on the future of affirmative action, equal treatment of LGBTQ people, and the control of election laws. The court will hear the cases in the fall and then likely issue rulings in spring 2023. Continue reading

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Walkouts Underway in Virginia Against Youngkin’s Attack on Trans Students

“It is shameful to pin your political hopes on your willingness to harm an already marginalized group of kids,” said one critic of the Republican governor’s plan to roll back transgender students’ rights.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Virginia students participate in a September 27, 2022 commonwealth-wide walkout in protest of a proposed rollback of transgender student rights by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. (Photo: Pride Liberation Project/Twitter)

Thousands of high school students walked out of classrooms across Virginia on Tuesday to protest a plan by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin that critics say aims to repress transgender youth amid growing nationwide GOP-led attacks on LGBTQ+ rights.

Chanting “trans rights are human rights,” “DOE, let us be,” and other slogans, students at scores of schools took part in demonstrations calling for the rejection of model Virginia Department of Education policies proposed earlier this month by Youngkin that, if approved, would force schools to categorize pupils according to scientifically dubious notions of “biological sex.” Continue reading

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‘Heed This Warning’: 2,500+ Book Bans Threaten US Schools and Democracy

“More books banned. More districts. More states. More students losing access to literature. ‘More’ is the operative word for this report on school book bans,” says author PEN America.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-19-2022 by Common Dreams

As Banned Books Week began Monday in the United States, a leading advocacy group published an updated report warning of a surge in right-wing efforts to censor and ban titles—many of them related to the struggles of marginalized peoples—in American schools.

“More books banned. More districts. More states. More students losing access to literature. ‘More’ is the operative word for this report on school book bans,” begins the update to PEN America’s Banned in the USA: Rising School Book Bans Threaten Free Expression and Students’ First Amendment Rights, which was published in April and covered the first nine months of the 2021-22 scholastic year. Continue reading

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Direct democracy can force governments to better represent the people – but it doesn’t always work out

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to a push for citizens initiatives to enshrine abortion rights.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

 

Susan Stokes, University of Chicago

In August 2022, a statewide referendum in Kansas saw citizens overwhelmingly reject a plan to insert anti-abortion language into the state’s constitution. It comes as a slew of similar votes on abortion rights are planned in the coming months – putting the issue directly to the people after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

But are referendums and citizens initiatives good for democracy? It may seem like an odd question to pose on International Day for Democracy, especially at a time when many feel democracy is imperiled both in the U.S. and around the world. Continue reading

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‘Monstrous’: Federal Judge Rules HIV Drug Coverage Mandate Violates Religious Freedom

The right-wing judge found that requiring insurers and employers to cover the HIV prevention drug violates the religious liberty of a company whose owner advocated executing LGBTQ+ people.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-7-2022 by Common Dreams

A person pours two PrEP pills from a bottle. (Photo: NAM aidsmap/cc)

Legal, healthcare, and LGBTQ+ advocates on Wednesday denounced a ruling by a right-wing federal judge in Texas who found that the federal law requiring insurance coverage of an HIV prevention drug violates a Christian-owned company’s religious freedom.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in Braidwood Management Inc. vs. Xavier Becerra that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that insurers and employers cover pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, infringes upon the liberty of a company under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Continue reading

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